The All Souls Festival Chanting has started. Chanters and participants of Fung Loy Kok from Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Costa Rica, 40 all together, gathered at D’Arcy Street today for the first of three days of All Souls Festival. The Festival ends on Sunday afternoon.
About the All Souls Festival
Buddhists and Taoists around the world hold ceremonies on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month so that outcast and famished souls may repent and cross over to salvation. This is known as the All Souls Festival.
Legend states that during the seventh lunar month the souls of the dead are released from hell and allowed to walk among the living. For this reason, Buddhist and Taoist temples around the world hold the All Souls Festival during the seventh lunar month every year. The purpose is twofold: first, it gives the living an opportunity to express filial piety by honouring their deceased ancestors; second, the temple will feed the hungry ghosts (souls who have no living relatives to offer them food or pray on their behalf) and give the lost souls a chance to hear the sutras during the days of the festival.
The souls of the deceased are comforted by the burning of incense sticks, paper money and paper clothes, and by the food offerings at the altar. When a living descendent puts up a temporary memorial plaque, the soul of the deceased is invited to come and listen to the sutras, to receive the food and other offerings. But the temple is opened even to the souls who do not have temporary memorial plaques installed. These souls can still receive the food for the hungry ghosts and the paper money burnt in charity. Most importantly, the festival gives all the souls a chance to listen to the chanting. We hope that they will heed the advice of the Buddha and Immortals in the words of the sutras, repent their wrongdoings, and receive deliverance from their sufferings in hell.